February 16, 2006
It's the American dream to own your own home and nowadays more single women are making that dream come true. For the first time in history single women are surpassing single men when it comes to buying their first homes.
"I didn't think that I was ever going to buy a house by myself. I always thought that my husband would do that for me but since I'm not married, it didn't happen that way," said Michelle Smith.
Almost two weeks ago Michelle Smith made the difficult step and bought her first home in Charlottesville by herself.
"I figured I had nothing to lose and the property will just go up in value," said Smith.
Studies show a lot of other women are thinking the same thing. According to the National Association of Realtors, last year single women snatched up 1 out of every 5 homes that were sold. That's twice as many houses than single men have bought nationwide and locally the numbers are still growing.
"For the last 2 years we had 79 buyers and out of that, 53 of them were single female head of households," said Shelley Murphy of the Piedmont Housing Alliance.
Murphy said more single women are able to buy new homes because of the many programs that are available to them. Through federal, state, and local programs, women like Smith are able to stand on their own two feet and make the dream of owning a home, a reality.
"I attribute a lot of that to women's determination, of cleaning up their credit, having stable employment and having the goal of being a home owner," said Murphy.
Officials said divorce, marrying later in life and women living longer than men, are just some of the reasons why more women are buying homes recently. This trend is forcing changes in real estate. Even the building industry is forced to add features to homes with women in mind.